UK Liberty

Gagging coroners

Posted in accountability, freedom of speech, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on March 18, 2008

The Government doesn’t want you to know when it’s at fault.

The Daily Telegraph:

Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, has gone to the High Court in an attempt to prevent coroners criticising the Ministry of Defence at military inquests.

This brought a furious reaction from families of troops killed on the front line.

Mr Browne wants coroners to stop accusing the MoD of “serious failings” when recording verdicts on military deaths.

Lawyers for the Defence Secretary claimed the phrase was tantamount to blaming the Government for the deaths of servicemen and could be seen as deciding liability – which potentially could help families if they sued for compensation.

But relatives said the Government was trying to “tie the hands of coroners”.

David Masters, the Wiltshire coroner, said coroners would not be “deflected from conducting full, frank and fearless inquiries into deaths they are entrusted to investigate – those of people serving their country when they are killed abroad”.

He added: “If something needs to be said, I’ll say it.”

Families of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan said they had a right to know what happened to victims and why they had died. Judgment will be given later.

See also Clause 64 of the Counter-Terrorism Bill.




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